Implementing lessons learned through occupational socialization theory to influence preservice teachers’ subjective theories

Kelsey McEntyre, K. Andrew R. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of a secondary physical education methods course and early field experience, supplemented with reflective discussions via Twitter, on subjective theories of physical education. The course was organized using recommendations from the occupational socialization theory literature. Participants were 22 preservice teachers enrolled in the course. The preservice teachers were organized into groups of three and engaged in peer teaching before beginning a junior high school early field experience. Reflective practices were incorporated throughout the course including Twitter chats prompting PTs to examine their beliefs regarding the field of physical education. Data were collected using five qualitative methods and analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Data analysis led to the development of three themes: (a) becoming aware of the realities of and changes needed within physical education; (b) reconsidering what it means to teach physical education; and (c) course organization and experiences opened the PTs to challenging their subjective theories. The preservice teachers recognized issues within the field of physical education and difficulties physical educators face as well as the ability of the physical educators to work with and support youth beyond their coaching roles. In doing so, they exhibited a shift from coaching to balanced orientations. Changes were facilitated through the development of relationships with the instructor and peers, reflection, and field experience. Findings provide evidence in support of recommendations for integrating occupational socialization theory into teacher education program development. Further, Twitter can be a useful tool for enhancing reflective practices particularly when teacher educators support preservice teachers as they develop more nuanced understandings of physical education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023


  • Preservice teachers
  • occupational socialization
  • physical education
  • twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Education


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